THOMAS EXCITED ABOUT TUCSON OPPORTUNITY
Viewers familiar with longtime Tucson anchor Scott Kilbury have become acquainted with his replacement during the last month. Craig Thomas moved from Raycom's Toledo, Ohio, property, to handle anchor and investigative reporting responsibilities for KOLD Channel 13 at 4 p.m. and KMSB Channel 11 at 9 p.m.
"(Tucson is) a growing place. That just brings an excitement," said Thomas, a native of New York City who decided on downtown as his place of residence. "All the construction downtown makes it feel like New York. Obviously, there are many issues, but they're exciting as opposed to a place where their best days are behind them. All of the big national issues matter here. That's huge. You want to be in a place where whatever happens matters that day. Immigration, guns, drugs, education, health care; it's all right here. It's almost ground zero for so many of those issues. That's exciting."
Maybe even more exciting than having weekends off, a benefit that Thomas hasn't enjoyed at other stops. In Toledo, he worked six days a week. Before that, most of his broadcast career focused on sports, which makes the concept of a traditional workweek impractical. While it's a nice perk with his position at KOLD and KMSB, the opportunity is more about professional growth and areas of interest that go beyond batting averages and points per game.
"I do think the news is more important than ever," Thomas said. "You want to be where it's most valuable and most important. TV is a crazy business, but it's nice to be at a place where a lot of people want to come. I'm excited to be here. I'm looking forward to it. The folks I've met here have been welcoming. They've been great."
BUT WHAT ABOUT THOSE MIC FLAGS?
When Thomas takes to the streets for those occasional investigative reports, he might notice where the Raycom affiliate has really saved some dough.
When Belo jettisoned its news product and paid Raycom to handle its local news, the KOLD/KMSB talent crossover had taken hold. But that's not the only way the arrangement saves money.
If you ever happen to be out at a story that requires the TV folks to be on hand, take a look at KOLD's mic flags. The mic flags are those plastic identifiers that wrap around the microphone, so that you can see the name of the station in the camera shot.
Well, in a move of excellent resourcefulness, Raycom has furnished reporting crews with an option. On two sides of the mic flag is the combined station catchphrase, "Tucson News Now." But on one of the other available sides is KMSB. And opposite that, KOLD.
If reporters are doing a standup for KOLD, then the KMSB part of the mic flag is supposed to point at them, with the reverse true for a KMSB report. That sounds simple enough, but any number of camera people have had to remind reporters on the scene about last-second mic flag placement.
One might think with all the money Raycom has saved on mic flags as part of this shared-services agreement, they'd be able to purchase better stickers to put on the microphones. But those things get ratty pretty fast. After awhile, that mic flag gets bigger and bigger as someone places a new "Tucson News Now" or KOLD sticker over the unkempt sticker that was there before. Maybe Raycom doesn't want to spring for an X-Acto knife and Fabuloso cleaner from the 99-cent store to peel off the old ones.
PERHAPS GREG NEWTON CAN HELP
KOLD last week named Greg Newton its new sales manager. Prior to accepting the KOLD position, Newton was the national sales manager at KVOA Channel 4.
"We are thrilled to add Newton to our already experienced (No.) 1 sales leadership team at KOLD," director of sales David Rash said in a press release that didn't get too informal, referring to the new hire by his last name. Well, up until this point: "Greg brings strong and diverse sales and sales management experience to the table along with deep local, regional and national relationships. We are lucky to have him on our team."
A UA grad with a bachelor's in finance, Newton has had previous radio sales stints with Clear Channel and Citadel (now Cumulus).
THAT WHOLE MEDIA GROUP THING CAN BE CONFUSING
With all the ownership adjustments that have taken place in recent years, it's natural to be a bit behind the curve because it's tough to keep up.
And even though the Cumulus purchase of bankrupt Citadel Broadcasting is nearly 2 years old, sometimes things just slip through the cracks.
If you were to call the main switchboard (887-1000) at Cumulus after business hours, you'd get an answering machine message that says something to the effect of "You've reached Citadel Broadcasting in Tucson."
Answering machines are outdated technology. I should know. I own and use one, and get told repeatedly that it's outdated. So maybe the radio cluster is just enjoying a bygone era, when large conglomerates snatched up properties they couldn't afford and ultimately went belly-up as a result.
That could never happen in today's radio climate. Oh, the good ol' days.